ZIMBABWE – Nyahuni Adventist High School has been ordered to reinstate five pupils it recently expelled over bald and unsubstantiated allegations of engaging in sexual intercourse after it emerged that the headmaster had not followed correct procedure in dismissing the children.
High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe yesterday ordered the reinstatement of the children — two boys and three girls — in his chambers after the school head climbed down on his earlier position of opposing the application.
The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, who was represented by Mr Joseph Mumbengengwi of the Attorney-General’s Office, said he was not opposed to the order sought because he had not sanctioned the school’s decision.
However, considering that the headmaster, Mr Sheckleton Makamba, was no longer opposing the application, the judge did not order the respondents in the matter to pay costs of the suit.
Four of the pupils — two boys and two girls — are Upper Six students who are still writing examinations while the two boys’ sister, who was fired for being in the same house where the sexual activities were suspected to have taken place, is in Form Three.
Harare lawyer Mr Charles Nyika of Nyika Kanengoni and Partners confirmed the development saying his clients were now free to go back to school without any hindrances.
“The court has ordered the reinstatement of the children and they are now free to join the others and continue with their usual business without any hindrances although they were seriously prejudiced by the school’s decision.
“The others are writing their final year examinations but the Form Three girl will even proceed to next year in the school without disturbances,” he said.
The minister’s lawyer, Mr Mumbengegwi, could not be reached for comment by the time of going to press yesterday.
The pupils, through Mr Nyika, argued that the expulsion was driven by malice on the part of the headmaster who took the hard stance without any proof that they became intimate.
It was the school’s allegation that the two brothers who stayed with the matron, a relative, spent a night in the house with the girls who had sneaked out of the boarding school’s hostels.
The headmaster, Mr Makamba, assumed that the four could have indulged in sexual activities before expelling them.
The boys’ sister was not spared because she was in the same house where the escapades could have been committed despite the fact that she officially stayed at the house.
In his notice of opposition, Mr Makamba attached a letter from the Mashonaland East provincial education director approving the expulsion but it was withdrawn at the eleventh hour just before the court hearing.
That left the headmaster exposed without any shield, a development that resulted in the collapse of his case.
In terms of the 1993 circular that governs schools on suspension, expulsion and corporal punishment issues, the headmaster cannot expel a pupil without authority from the regional director.
Clause 4.3 of the circular reads: “A head shall not expel a pupil without the prior approval of the regional director. The regional director shall be provided in writing with the full circumstances and reasons for the intended expulsion.
“The head shall include medical reports, police reports, etc, where appropriate.
“Copies of the letter of intended expulsion shall be sent to the regional director, who if he or she is in agreement with the head’s recommendation, will forward a copy to the (permanent) secretary for his information together with his or her comments.”